MEC PROMISES TO RESPOND TO CONFLICT OF INTEREST: DAILY DISPATCH

RURAL development and agrarian reform MEC Zoleka Capa said she would respond one day to the suggestion she had a conflict of interest in the Ntinga O R Tambo Development Agency.

Speaking at a media breakfast in Bhisho on Wednesday, Capa said the only conflict of interest would be if she had to make a ruling on an appeal by suspended chief finance officer Lumka Sibanyoni.

“That is a real conflict of interest not the one of my husband working for Ntinga and O R Tambo District Municipality,” she said.

Capa spoke about this when she was asked about Sibanyoni’s suspension.

“It would be difficult to preside over the appeal and interfere with the process,” she said, referring to the appeal which arose from administrative processes in her department.

But Capa said: “I’m happy about that one.”

Her statements came in the wake of calls by the DA that she be deployed to another department to end her favouritism towards the O R Tambo District Municipality and Ntinga Development Agency.

“The ANC deployed her as the MEC for Agriculture knowing very well she has personal interests in farming in this district,” said DA’s Veliswa Mvenya.

In a statement Mvenya said the portfolio committee doing oversight in Capa’s department found the agency had been given R5-million by the department for an agricultural project in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality.

“Clearly there is a conflict of interest here: ironically the MEC’s husband is both CEO of Ntinga and an official of the O R Tambo District Municipality,” Mvenya said, and called on premier Noxolo Kiviet to move Capa to another department.

Referring to claims of conflict of interest Capa said she would respond one day “when I know how much my husband earns”.

Meanwhile, the department said it would abide by a resolution of the executive council on the overpayments made regarding human resource operating project team.

The department was named by the auditor-general as among those still to recover overpayment.

The provincial departments irregularly paid R683-million to 4 814 civil servants when harmonising their jobs and salaries instead of R26-million, according to a finding by audit firm Grant Thornton.

The AG said the rural development and agrarian reform had made R145million in overpayments and still owed R9.2-million to its employees.

Responding to the standing committee on public accounts, the department said it had started to recoup the overpayments, but had yet to pay the outstanding money until the office of the premier finalised a probe.

Asked how much it had recouped to date, Capa would only say her department would abide by a “cabinet resolution”. —